H.R. 863, the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum Act

H.R. 863

Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum Act

Sponsor
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

Date
May 7, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 863, the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 863 was introduced on February 27, 2014 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee and the Committee on House Administration.  The bill was marked up by the Committee on House Administration on April 2, 2014 and was ordered reported by voice vote.[1]  It was marked up by the Natural Resources Committee on April 9, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

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[1] Committee Report 113-411, Part 1.

Bill Summary

H.R. 863 establishes a Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum in the Washington, D.C. area.  The Commission will be comprised of eight members: two appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, two by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two by the Senate Minority Leader, and two by the Minority Leader of the House.[1]

Within 18 months of its first meeting, the Commission must submit two reports to the President and Congress.  The first report must contain a plan of action for the establishment and maintenance of a National Women’s History Museum.  The second report must address issues such as the availability and cost of collections to be acquired; potential locations for the museum; the governance and organizational structure; and the cost of constructing, operating, and maintaining the museum.  The Commission must utilize the reports to recommend a legislative plan of action to establish and construct the museum.  The Commission terminates thirty days after the reports are submitted.

H.R. 863 requires the Commission to develop a fundraising plan to support the museum through public contributions.  The bill requires an independent review to assess whether the fundraising plan would achieve the funds needed to construct and maintain the museum in perpetuity.  Commission members may also solicit funds to support the Commission’s activities.  No federal funds may be used to carry out H.R. 863.

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[1] Commission members will serve without pay.  Federal employees may not serve on the commission.

Background

Women represent more than half of the U.S. population and have made substantial contributions since our nation’s founding.  Presently, there is not a museum in Washington, D.C. “dedicated to telling the comprehensive story of women’s history and preserving the legacies of women’s contributions to our nation.”[1]  Private efforts to establish such a museum have continued for almost two decades and bills have been introduced since the 1990s to advance the museum.[2]

Congress has previously established commissions to study the creation of a National Museum of African American History and a National Museum of the American Latino.[3]  These commissions were authorized to use federal funds and were not required to develop independent fundraising plans.  In contrast, H.R. 863 prohibits the Commission from using federal funds and requires a fundraising plan to ensure the museum would be funded solely through public contributions.

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[1] Id. at 2.
[2] Id.
[3] Id. at 3.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 863 would have no significant impact on the federal budget.  The bill would not affect revenues and any impact on direct spending would be insignificant.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.